Pastors from four Monett churches shared a Thanksgiving message at last week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Clif Crockett, pastor at the First United Methodist Church, led the group. Crockett recalled that in Daniel Defoe's novel "Robinson Crusoe," the main character made a list of the negative and positive things about being marooned on a tropical island.
Crusoe found he had no prepared food but he had plenty of fish and fruit available. While he had no clothes, his needs for clothing were minimal on the island.
Crockett said that as a pastor, he tries to focus on the positive in light of the many negative things happening in the world.
As he gets older, Crockett said he sees blessings in little things, such as the observations made by his granddaughter. Crockett shared several, including suggestions in how he could provide a better example.
Walt Hamer, pastor at the First Presbyterian Church, said he was 8 years old when his father died. His mother brought him up in a religious family. Now Hamer has two daughters and a son and several grandchildren. Hamer felt grateful to have a wonderful family and only regretted the children lived so far away.
Thanksgiving was first celebrated as state holiday in 1863. The author Sarah Hale, known for the poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb," was instrumental in promoting the day as a general holiday. The U.S. Congress made it a national day of celebration in 1941.
Ron Stair, pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), said the first Thanksgiving was a fall harvest feast to pray and give thanks to God.
"God moves everyone every day," Stair said.
Lately Stair said he has been asking people, "Where did God move you today?" Stair shared several examples of adversity he has faced in his life.
"Even in tragedy you see God," he said.
Stair said he was thankful for God leading him to the church in Monett in the past year. He appreciated his new community and his colleagues.
Jim Copley, pastor of the Chapel of Grace, said Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and remember what God has done. God can be merciful to a sinner and change that person's life at a later time.
Copley said he had experienced hard times as well and was thankful for God's grace. He was especially thankful for his church and for what Jesus had done for all people.
Crockett concluded there are lessons to be learned from tragedies. He recalled a man who had been badly burned trying to light a gas burner on a water heater when a gas pocket exploded. While recuperating in the hospital, the man told his nurse he hurt.
"That's good," the nurse responded. "It means you're healing."
"When you are hurting, you are healing too," Crockett added.
Randy Henderson, Kiwanis president, presided at the meeting. Jon Suit was program chairman.
In club news, Jim Haston talked about plans for a Christmas party for children on Dec. 17 at the First United Methodist Church.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.